The BITSAVERS.ORG Documents Library: Autonetics
Autonetics was a division of North American Aviation. Through a series of mergers, Autonetics is now part of Boeing. Autonetics originated in North American Aviation's Technical Research Laboratory, a small unit in the Los Angeles Division's engineering department in 1945. In 1946, the laboratory won an Army Air Force contract to develop a 175- to-500-mile-range glide missile. The work and the lab expanded, so that by June 1948, all of the Aerophysics Laboratory was consolidated at Downey, Calif. The evolution of the Navaho missile program then resulted in the establishment of Autonetics as a separate division of North American Aviation in 1955, first located in Downey, California and moved to Anaheim California in 1963.
Autonetics included the Navigation Systems division, designing and producing inertial and stellar-inertial navigation systems for ships, submarines, missiles, aircraft and space vehicles. Other products included alignment devices and attitude reference systems for missile launchers, artillery, orientation, land survey, aircraft and missile-range ships.
The Autonetics Data Systems division developed data-processing systems, general-purpose digital computers, ground support equipment, control systems and telemetry systems. The Electro Sensor Systems division built multi-function radar systems, armament control computers, data and information display systems for high performance aircraft, and sensor equipment.
Autonetics built a portable office computer and ranging radar for trainers and fighters and was responsible for the guidance and control system for the Boeing-built Minuteman missiles. The division ultimately produced the Monica family of microcomputers, the D-17B Minuteman I computer, and the D-37B and D-37C Minuteman II computer, in which microminiaturization reduced weight by two-thirds. Autonetics also developed and tested flight programs for the D37D Minuteman III computer.
Milestones also included the first airplane flight of an inertial autonavigator (XN-1) in 1950 and the first flight of an all-solid-state computer (for the Navaho guidance system) in 1955.